Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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Sales Reps Don’t Dig CRM? Some Suggestions

January 18, 2017

The usefulness of your CRM application is dependent on input, analysis, and updating. Is your team committed?

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Maybe you’re trapped in the same vicious circle that other businesses are experiencing. Your sales team doesn’t use its CRM application because the information it contains seems to be outdated. And it’s outdated because your sales force doesn’t keep it fresh.

Why does this happen? There can be one or more contributing factors, like these:

  • Salespeople have to spend too much time creating profiles of customers and prospects.
  • Salespeople have to spend too much time keeping those profiles up-to-date.
  • Salespeople have to spend too much time entering information about meetings, phone calls, events, etc.
  • Salespeople have to spend too much time finding what they’re looking for.

Do you see a pattern here? It’s pretty obvious. Keeping a CRM system updated well enough that anyone using it can depend on its data can be time-consuming.

So are you using the wrong application? Or are your salespeople unwilling to recognize the importance of what can be a tremendously useful tool and get on board?

Only you can answer that second question, but it may well be related to the first. Are your salespeople holding back because they’re just avoiding what they consider drudge work? Or do they have a point? Could you and should you have a better CRM application?

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. The best CRM solutions:

  • Create their own profiles by finding what they can learn about an individual or company from online sources.
  • Keep those profiles fresh by, for example, making social streams available.
  • Make it easy to see a visual pipeline, or at least to know where you stand with a customer or prospect without having to dig around a lot.
  • Draw on input from other users because they’re designed to be networked.

Does your current CRM application do all these things? If not, I hate to say it, but it may be time to get some recommendations from peers. Read reviews. Go on vendor sites. Find a better way.

There are two more reasons why your CRM adoption is lagging: training and buy-in.

The first of those is easier to remedy. CRM applications scream for a good training program. Your salespeople are busy chasing leads and doing follow-up and writing business, but some of their current workload could actually be lightened if only they knew how to best use their CRM system.

Did you provide this for your current Customer Relationship Management solution? If not, and if you still believe that you’re using the right one, put the brakes on using the application hit-and-miss and start over. Can your vendor provide a trainer? If not, can you and/or one of your quick studies go through your own tutorials and then do the training? It’s that important.

Second, buy-in. Are you yourself committed to making your CRM efforts successful? Have you shared its importance with your team?

I know it’s hard to get your staff to dedicate an hour for a staff meeting or a lunch, let alone the time it would take to really get them up to speed. So tell them what I’ve told you – that the time spent learning how to best use a CRM solution gets paid back several-fold. Explain that CRM doesn’t work optimally unless everyone is committed and contributing.

And lead by example. Show them how your CRM solution has changed and improved the way you work. That may be the most effective training approach of all.

What do you think?

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